Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Tundra Swan Trio
Tundra Swans are making their way back to the Arctic regions of the country for the nesting season. I have never seen one of these birds but always seem to hear "you just missed the fifty that were in this swamp an hour ago". There are areas near Lake Erie and Lake Huron where they rest during migration so I decided to drive an hour south west of home to see them. Aylmer Ontario is a small community north of Lake Erie and the swans rest near the grounds of the Ontario Police College each spring. The ponds at the Aylmer Wildlife Management Area are now surrounded by fencing and four viewing platforms have been constructed for the many visitors who come to see them. They even have a wheelchair accessible, enclosed platform that is very close to the pond. Tinted windows keep the birds from seeing the people.
There were about 2000 Tundra Swans here this day, down from a peak of 4000 a couple of days before. The swans are counted each morning and dried corn is put out for them to eat. Unlike the Trumpeter Swans in Burlington, these birds are not endangered in Ontario and are not tagged with big yellow numbers. I took a lot of pictures of these beautiful birds and will undoubtedly feature more in another post.
I chose three birds out of two thousand because they seemed to have special talent, standing out among the crowd. All this picture is missing is the microphone and the band! The band was there in the background and while these swans are not as melodic as the Trumpeter Swans, they do make a real racket.
The ponds will be silent by the first of April except for the Canada Geese that are setting up nests here. I am sure there will be many other birds this season that will make their nests in the swamps and grassland surrounding the ponds;- a good reason to plan a return visit.